David A. Thomas is the Rex E. Lee Endowed Chair and Professor of Law Emeritus at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School, where he taught from 1974 until his retirement in 2010. He was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1944, and was educated in Utah schools after 1950. He earned his B.A. and M.L.S. degrees at Brigham Young University (1967, 1977) and his J.D. at Duke University Law School (1972), after an interruption for military service in Vietnam. Following law school graduation, he completed a federal judicial clerkship and practiced law in Salt Lake City, before joining the law school faculty at Brigham Young University. He received professor of the year awards in 1998, 2000, 2005 and 2010. As a teacher and author in both property and civil procedure areas, he effectively combined theory and practice in conducting real property transactions, dispute resolution, and expert witness assignments. He proposed and drafted Utah’s first statutory changes in common law easement rules, which were enacted as the state’s enabling legislation for historic preservation easements; he also drafted Utah’s long range highway corridor preservation legislation. Professor Thomas has been admitted to practice before the Utah Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He was a bar examiner for Utah and prepared bar examination questions for Utah and several other states. He also served on numerous law school accreditation site inspection teams. He was a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association, where he held several leadership positions. He was also a founding member of the Real Estate Transactions Section of the Association of American Law Schools.
Professor Thomas has published extensively on real property, civil procedure and common law legal history topics, including chapters in several treatises and articles in professional journals. He is the author (with Backman) of A Practical Guide to Disputes Between Adjoining Landowners–Easements, Utah Civil Procedure, Utah Civil Practice, and (with Backman) Utah Real Property Law. He is the editor-in-chief and principal author of the 15-volume treatise Thompson on Real Property, Thomas Edition (LexisNexis, 1994–), which has been cited in hundreds of state and federal cases. He is fluent in German and has been active in research and scholarly affairs in the United Kingdom and continental Europe.
He and his wife Paula have eight children and reside in Orem, Utah.